BACKGROUND: The goal of this study was to investigate the outcome of different surgical procedures (debridement and retention vs 1- or 2-stage exchange) together with a well-defined antimicrobial regimen. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 236 consecutive patients underwent 262 primary elbow arthroplasties between January 1994 and December 2007. We observed 20 episodes of periprosthetic infections in 19 patients and placed them into 3 groups according to the occurrence of infection after index surgery. A total of 9 early infections (<3 months), 1 delayed infection (3-24 months), and 10 late infections (>24 months) were observed. The treatment among those 3 groups was compared, and the outcome was assessed with a mean follow-up of 60.2 months. RESULTS: In the group with early infections (n = 9), 8 cases were treated by irrigation and debridement and 1 case was treated by a 2-stage exchange without recurrence of infection. The mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score improved from 48.3 points (range, 30-75 points) to 91.7 points (range, 85-100 points). The delayed infection was treated by 1-stage exchange without recurrence of infection. For late infections (n = 10), 3 cases presented recurrence of infection after debridement and irrigation, and the mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score remained nearly unchanged, from 60 points (range, 45-80 points) to 65 points (range, 50-80 points). Eradication of infection could be achieved by staged revision and in 3 cases by debridement. CONCLUSION: Both debridement with retention and staged reimplantation are highly successful for appropriate indications. Staged revisions are successful even against biofilm-active microorganisms, but a prosthesis-free interval of at least 3 months is recommended.